By Shelby Mastovich, USAS Local 123 at Penn State
USAS’s End Deathtraps campaign today achieved its first victory: Adidas has become the first college-logo brand to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. Adidas’s move occurred halfway through an International Week of Action to End Deathtraps, during which students at over 30 universities across the country held campus actions on the 6-month anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse to demand college-logo brands sign the Accord.
Adidas’s announcement also comes just six months after the company agreed to pay $1.8 million in severance pay to garment workers at the PT Kizone factory in Indonesia, following the largest collegiate boycott of a top-three sportswear brand in history, with 17 colleges and universities ending their Adidas contracts during the “Badidas” campaign.
Now that Adidas has signed the Accord, all eyes are on VF Corporation, Nike, Top of the World and other players in the collegiate apparel industry who have shirked responsibility. With over 100 brands and retailers signed on to the Accord, these brands are running out of excuses.
Our universities are likewise running out of excuses for why they haven’t required brands to do the right thing. Just last week, the Worker Rights Consortium formally recommended that universities require brands producing collegiate apparel in Bangladesh to sign the Accord.
Campaigns on campus are heating up. For example, here at Penn State, USAS Local 123 has built a coalition of 20 student groups – including progressive, faith, Greek, and cultural organizations – who want Penn State to use its power in the apparel industry to end deathtrap factories. Earlier this week, we held a vigil calling on Penn State administration to act.
As USA TODAY reported, the End Deathtraps campaign is just beginning, and won’t stop until our universities do the right thing and require licensees to join the Accord. Want to get your campus involved? Contact an organizer and we’ll get you started.